5 Things Being A Parent Has Taught Me

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Being a mother has changed me in so many ways but I think the one and most important way has been the increase in confidence. 

 

1. Confidence 

I consider myself a pretty confident person even pre baby, but once that little soul entered this earthly realm..oh boy.. 

Perhaps it was the mama bear instinct that kicked in, perhaps something else, but one thing I know for sure. I wanted to teach my daughter how to be confident in herself and for that, she need the best role model she could have. Who am I to tell anyone to be confident if I can’t be so myself? I got to live up to it and lemme tell you.. It feels pretty darn good. 

Though the days of being hyper insecure are just a faint memory of the past at this point, I quickly learned how to stand up for myself in ways I hadn’t considered before. Most importantly, with everything that I do, I remind myself that I am doing my best and that is good enough because that’s what I want my daughter to live by. 

 

2 Know what you want and don’t want

Having a child has made me stronger in so many ways but one weakness I’ve always had has been knowing what I want and stating it. She helped me with that one too. Seeing my daughter so fiercely expressive when it comes to what she wants and doesn’t want has taught me how to recognize my own desires and in that, giving myself the freedom and permission to be more vocal when it comes to expressing my own desires and needs. 

On the flip side of that. I find it equally as important to know and recognize what you don’t want. So often I come across people doing a lot of things they don’t want to do because they are scared of saying no. This is where I always tell people to treat themselves like they would their own children. I would never want my daughter to do anything she doesn’t want to do, and I’m not talking skipping bedtime here... but so many of us have learned that life comes with a whole list of ‘you have to, even if you don’t want to’ and as a result most of us don’t realize when we’re neglecting ourselves by doing things we don’t want. It often looks like an internal conversation of 'mmm I don’t really want to, like I reaaaaallly don’t want to but I should. She might be disappointed in me or get mad if I don’t.. but I really don’t want to.. I guess I’ll do it anyways’ and that’s the end of that. Have you ever seen how much resistance comes with a child that is being forced to do something they don’t want to? Yeah.. that should be you.. except for the temper tantrums.. know what you don’t want and trust your emotional guidance system on this one. 

The other day I read a post from a girl talking about how she looked up to this other woman because she would always prioritize everyone else before herself. Insert red flags!!!  ALARMS GOING OFF OVER HERE!!! 

I had to let out a deep sigh.. oh sweet girl... how can I tell you to prioritize YOU! Putting everyone else’s needs before your own is a sure recipe for a lot of bitter resentments followed by ‘I did this for you’ and ‘you owe me’ with a side of potential fatigue. 

Learn to say no guys, and ladies! No can be extremely healthy.. 

 

3 Self care is crucial

It’s 2018, unfortunately we don’t live in tribes anymore and often times raising a child is a one woman show. (Or shit show). In those cases. Self care is crucial. 

Finding the time for it though... I know I know.. good luck.. but finding ways to fill my own cup or should I say PRIORITIZING - filling my own cup whenever I can is an absolute necessity. Without it, I’m a horrible person! I’m far from the best version of myself which means I slack when it comes to being a good mother, wife, friend. I become a hot mess!! Angry & overwhelmed with the endless chores, tears and laughter that comes with being a mother. 

So how do I find the time to take care of myself and what do I do? I ask someone to babysit. In my case it's mostly just hubby that gets to do that. Husband, friend, family, whoever you trust, just call for help.. And for that hr, I will do something that I know makes me feel good! I know it can be incredibly tempting to just sit down in a corner or lay in bed and scroll on the phone for an hour but I try and do something that I know will pay off. 

I read a book, meditate, go for a loooong walk without the phone - or with it in case I want to listen to an audio book. (Motherhood teaches you to multitask on a whooole other level). I go for a run or go to the gym, preferably anything that gets me out of the house and do something different. But most importantly.. I BREEEAATH! I put that fight or flight feeling on pause for a bit and I breath through it all. 

In the past I would find myself procrastinating a lot because hey. I can always do it later.. Then motherhood came along... What does 'later' mean? if I have 10 min it's either now or never.

 

4. It’s the little things 

Noticing how water pours from a bucket, the texture of sand, turning a piece of paper into 50, squeezing a blackberry in your fist, eating with your hands, sitting in a drawer because you can, tasting new things, laughing more... The never ending beauty of this earthly realm that we find ourselves in is just breathtaking. 

When My husband was out walking with our daughter (before she could walk) he would always stop and smell the roses with her because ‘one should never be too busy to stop and smell the roses’. Today we can barely go anywhere without having to smell EVERY plant. I say plant because we have to smell the grass, the bushes, the dandelion, the rose and the dried up weeds. I mean.. how can you do anything but smile, and be late to your every appointment.. ‘sorry, my daughters had to stop and smell the flowers’.

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In those moments I’m reminded that everything at every moment is new. There’s always something new if only we stop and wonder with the eyes of a child. 

It’s the little things in life that makes it all worth while. The smiles, the tears, the hugs, the kisses.. they’ve become the big things. 

 

5. Be present - this too shall pass

I’m constantly reminded that no matter how trying it can be, good or bad, this too shall pass.. With each breath you take, every moment passes and becomes a memory before your eyes. Before you blink, you’re no longer pregnant but have a little human in your arms, blink, this little thing is now crawling, blink, walking, blink, mommy mommy can I.. blink, woa what happened... Time.. Time is what happened and yes, it flew by at the speed of lightning. 

having a little one makes it easier to see just how fast time flies and it’s forever a reminder to be in the present moment because if you’re not, you’ll be missing out on a lot. 

 

❤ Diana

Baby Registry Must Haves // Newborn Essentials you need and don't

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Heeeey my beautiful mom (to be) friends. Today I'm excited to share a blog on baby essentials and thoughts on what you would want to add to your baby registry as it's something I get asked about quite often. It was an absolute nightmare for me to decipher what I really needed and didn't need. Despite thinking 'my baby would/will only need boobs and diapers', I somehow ended up with a LOT of products. Some I bought, some were gifted, some I was told were MUST HAVES but never used, others were priceless yet no one told me about them. Needless to say, this overflow on information on baby products, birthed my desire to share my thoughts on what brands I think are the best and cleanest / what you might actually need..and not.

MY TOP ESSENTIALS
 

Solly Baby Wrap in Color 'CAMEL'

Solly Baby Wrap in Color 'CAMEL'

#1 Baby carrier

If you want to  make your life easier, you're gonna want to get yourself a carrier. This thing has been an absolute life saver for me and. During the forth trimester - the first 3 months after she's born, you're gonna want to have as much contact with your baby as possible. As my midwife said, there's absolutely no reason why your baby should be laying by herself - away from you during this time...and I agree. At this stage, it is important to have as much physical contact with your baby as possible and this thing allows you to do so.

My pick:

SOLLY BABY WRAP

Why I love it:

I specifically love THIS one because it's super comfortable to wear. The fabric is light and breathable and I barely feel it on me. During a California summer, it can get pretty toasty carrying a baby around so you'll need one that you can actually BREATH in. If it's winter where you're at, you could look for ones made from thicker material but like I said, if you live somewhere hot, it really becomes unbearable. I also love that there aren't any straps and strings on this thing which I felt was getting in the way/feeling bulky at this stage. I was gifted a few different styles and I have to say this is the winner!


#2 BABY LOUNGER

From the minute Divina was born, she loved this thing. I didn't carry her in the wrap the first two weeks when she was fresh outa momma as I couldn't walk. (a big tear and a hip out of place - a true heroes journey for sure) and during this time, this thing was worth gold.

I always had the lounger covered with a swaddle blanket to protect the surface in case she would burp up anything, that way I didn't have to wash it. It's easier to wash if you have a front facing washer (which I honestly don't understand why that's not a standard thing in the US yet but regardless - it's washable).
I seriously dislike these American washers - I mean, c'mon - you have to bend
over and stick your entire body in there to get the last socks out.
( European #shortgirlproblems )

Why I love it:

I know they say not to but momma's gotta do what she gotta do and baby D slept in this thing. It was the only place (other than the wrap or straight on me) that I could GET her to sleep. 

She didn't like to be on her back at all so she slept on her stomach pretty much from the beginning and YES, I do know there are different opinions on that as with anything, so do your research and be safe and observant. Needless to say Tummy Time was never a problem as it was all she wanted. I highly recommend getting one of these.


#3 BAMBO NATURE - DIAPERS & WIPES

These diapers are seriously THE BEST. I've tried a few different brands and styles etc but honestly, NOTHING compares to these.

Why I love it:

It's a Danish brand (gotta love those Danes ;P ). They are free of harmful chemicals and perfumes to minimize the risk of allergies and diaper rash and are certified free of all known allergens or substances classified as locally irritating, sensitizing, carcinogenic, or mutagenic. I absolutely love these diapers as they're super THIN and SOFT and hold EVERYTHING in.. EVERYTHING.. They're incredibly absorbent and hold over night like it's their job... I usually don't change her over night unless she poops and these diapers will easily hold all the liquids without anything leaking. I also use their wipes and I love
everything about them. They're smooth, soft, gentle and able to remove anything. I seriously cannot recommend this brand enough.


#4 Baby Bouncer

My Pick: Baby Bjorn Baby Bouncer. Of all the items I've gotten and bought, this may be my favorite. She didn't use it for long but when she did, oh boy was it worth it..

WHY i love it:

I love that it has multiple adjustments from sitting up to laying down to folding down all the way flat for easy storage or travel. There's not much to say about this things other than I LOVE IT. It bounces, folds flat, doesn't take up much space, she's happy, that's good enough for me. You WILL need one :)


nuna mixx

STROLLER 
Noticed how there are  just about a million different strollers on the market? Trying to choose a good one when I had no recommendations or mom friends to turn to.. geeezzz what a zoo. I ended up getting the Nuna Mixx Stroller which comes with a seat that you can use when your baby gets older but I love how I can snap the car seat right to the base. This is a big and sturdy stroller good for all terrain if you're an adventures person but note that it DOES take up a LOT of space. It came in handy for farmers markets as I could load all my groceries in there, haha.. And if you plan to bring a lot of stuff with you as you venture out, this might be a good option.

PROS: Sturdy, room for a lot, well made, works easily with their car seat. 

CONS: I can only think of one problem with this stroller and it's the SIZE. It's BIG. It takes up 1/3 of our trunk which doesn't make it ideal for long trips where you have to pack a lot.

 

CAR SEAT
Ohhh the journey of car seats! I knew NOTHING!!! I got the Nuna Pipa Car Seat which is stupid simple to install and I loved it. There was no need to have an extra swaddle blanket hanging over the top as there’s a build in dream drape but as she  got older she would constantly grab the sides and chew on the fabric as the simple little magnets holding it in place were too easy to grab. If I could change one thing about this product, it would be that. But…

IF I were to do it again, I would get the NUNA RAVA as it is usable for longer as it turns both front and rear facing. With the Nuna Pipa you may find that your child grows out of it fairly quickly and before you know it, it’s time for a new one. The Rava can be used for a child up to 65lbs where the Nuna will only last you up to 32lbs or 32in..

Baby zen yolo

Baby zen yolo

MY PICK:

IF I WERE TO DO IT AGAIN

I would go with the baby zen yoyo. We ended up back on the road traveling across the country and I quickly realized just HOW much space the Nuna Mixx took up in the trunk... like A LOT!! And I pretty much regret not going with my original choice of stroller which was the Baby Zen yoyo stroller. I was considering it because it's super light weight and the only model that is approved and fits as a carryon on planes and as you know, we travel quite a bit. For city life this may be a good option as well.

It was my first choice for these reasons but as I put it on my registry, a friend of ours saw it and recommended a stroller with bigger wheels that was a bit more sturdy for what we may encounter on our travels. - He was wrong - but I still loved it :)
Next time I'll  get the baby zen though... You may need adaptors to fit the car seat.. 


#6 Baby Monitor

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The competition is real and the amount of monitors you can choose from can be as overwhelming as trying to find a stroller. I tried a few and I have to say that this monitor from Arlo is my favorite. It's a bit more expensive but so worth it in my opinion. I started out with this Samsung Monitor and to be hones, it just didn't quite cut it. When we lived in our little 2 bdr home it worked just fine but I wasn't able to walk outside as the monitor would barely reach outside the door which was a big frustration for me. 

WHY i love it:

WIFI. omgracious if there's one thing I can recommend it is to invest in a monitor with wifi. This Arlo monitor is easy to set up, it connects to your phone, you can mute it or have the sound play on your phone even on locked screen. It has a wide angle screen and the image is clear. It plays music and you can record your own if you want. I'm able to lay outside in the yard and only cary my phone with me. I highly recommend it.


#7 Co-sleeping
Snuggle Me Organic

Choosing a co sleeper was honestly as challenging as choosing anything else. I actually ended up getting the 'DockAtot' which I never used as Divina didn't want to sleep flat on her back - or be on her back at all for that matter. That's when I learned that this brand is actually the 'original' one and the one I would get next time.

My pick:

Snuggle me organic. It's snug and hugs your baby instead of having a flat surface which I think is better for them.I would say this might be the best option (that I've found). Your baby is safe and secure in this thing, it's made from organic material and you can place it in the middle of the bed. The first 10 weeks we would CO CO sleep, like IN MY ARM and I wouldn't move in fear of squishing her. I tried the DockAtot multiple times but she wasn't happy with it. Sleeping in my arms was the only way I could get her to sleep at night but I have a feeling this thing would've worked as it 'hugs' the baby. 


#8 Organic Swaddle Blankets

Everyone told me 'you can't have enough swaddle blankets', so I got A LOT.. To be honest, I ended up getting WAAAY more than I needed and to this day I still wonder what one could use that many blankets for. Half of them have never been used and I personally would only get 4-5 next time. But you will need some.


#9 Amber Teething Necklace

They're cute...they help with teething... At some point, it will be a thing, GET ONE!
(they're not meant for your baby to chew on, but gives off some type of 'oil' when in contact with the skin which helps with pain relief.)


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#10 High chair

I thought I could do without ( you know I like to be minimal) - I was wrong. If there's one piece of advice I can give when it comes to highchairs it would be to get one without fabric. It becomes A HOT MESS!!!
And get a cheap one.

My Pick: IKEA's Antilop


#11 teething toys

2 things.. A toothbrush and Sophie.. She's a classic.. Made from natural rubber.
(I tried the wooden rings but she didn't seem to like them too much.. I imagine they were too hard on her gums.) The toothbrush though!! Get yourself one.. The absolute best for teething!!


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# 12 clothes

Once again, She was a California summer baby. We went jungle style most of the time. No clothes, just diapers. They grow SO fast it's unbelievable and you get to decide how much and what.

I personally LOVED this little onesie from Boody - a soft Cooling Infant Bodysuit made from Natural Organic Bamboo but, if you're in the market for something more affordable, Amazon have endless choices when it comes to baby clothes. I don't think I got that much yet I still had way more newborn stuff than I needed.


#13/14 - two things for mama

I just want to add 2 things on here that will come in handy for you.. Nipple pads cuz you'll be leaking...and a pump. Nothing fancy.. hand held, one boob at a time which worked for me as I only needed it occasionally. If you plan to pump and freeze and what not, you may want to look into an electric double pump.


 

THINGS I DIDN'T NEED

I didn’t need rockn’ play’s, swings, sterilizers, drying stations, special diaper trash cans, nipple creams (use natural oil like coconut or avocado that are not toxic for baby), rash creams (buy good diapers and you won’t have a rash problem), and a whole list of other gadgets I was recommended. Not every baby and lifestyle is the same so you get to figure out what works and doesn't work for you and baby.. ohhh motherhood. But I've put this list together to show what I personally didn't need so that  If you are anything like me and like to do things a little different, you may think twice about these products. 

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#PACIFIER

The pacifier! I got this one from NaturSutten, another Danish brand and made from natural rubber that's free of toxins and chemicals. Thinking I 'should' get one bc that's what everyone else does but I decided not to use it after all. Turns out later on when I tried giving it to her, she didn't even want it. I also firmly believe that an important step is to try and understand your baby in a language beyond words. I see so many moms grabbing the pacifier at the first sign of noise coming from their babies mouth and I'm personally not a fan of this. But if you do want to get one, I  recommend this brand.


# nursing PILLOW

Everyone told me I would need one and that it would be a MUST but to be honest, I never used it even once. I found it incredible uncomfortable to use and I'm also a short person so that could have something to do with it. Perhaps if you're tall and have a long torso it would be beneficial to have your baby lifted but.. Not me. I've heard they're good for tummy time as well but I didn't use it for that either. She just loved being on her stomach from the very beginning and didn't need assistance with those things.


# diaperbag

Diaper bags can get expensive and personally I'm already not really a purse kinda person so I didn't get a new one. The one I have is only a 'diaper bag' because I put diapers in it. You can make any bag/purse a diaper bag.


# BOTTLES

I had the one that came with the pump which I used a few times. I didn't look into it much as I decided to exclusively nurse so personally I didn't really need bottles and you may not either.


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# mittens

I tried.. and I'm not sure why cuz she just never scratched her face like I hear a lot of babies do.. They're deffinitely NOT a must. 


# White noise machines

If you get yourself a baby monitor that can play music, you won't have to spend money on a white noice machine. The one I listed above from Arlo I personally love because it has a list of songs already programmed and you also have an option to save your own songs/recordings.


 

WARNINGS

I personally believe your baby shouldn't have props to help them walk or sit up before they're capable of doing so by themselves as it can be damaging to the spine. I see these walking devices and fun gadgets to help them sit (like the Boppy pillows) and like I mentioned above, I never used these things for her as I believe it's important to not force them into these things. They will learn and build the strength once they're ready.


I hope you found some of these tips helpful. Wishing you all the best on your new journey as a mother.

XO, Diana ❤